Making Science Models

Making Science Models
by contributing writer Marci

We love hands-on science at our house. I can’t imagine effectively studying it any other way, although there are times when hands on can get tricky, say when you are studying organs of the body.

Somebody out there just went “ewww….gross!” I can hear you. Don’t worry. This is not a dissection post. This is where science models come in.

When we studied the way blood flows through the heart this year, we found a detailed drawing of the cross-section of a heart. It was complete with red and blue colors representing oxygen-rich blood and oxygen depleted blood and arrows to show the direction of the blood flow. It was a good diagram, but still a little hard for the kids to grasp.

“I wish I could hold that picture and move it around,” my daughter said. Then, I see the lights go on. She loves clay of all sorts and is always creating with it. Before I knew it, she was shaping clay into a 3D model of the drawn diagram.

When we got to the chapter about the nervous system, she made more models.

clay neuron model

cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem

Benefits Of Making Science Models

Making models helps kids learn several ways. First, the construction of the model requires them to look more closely at an image or subject than they would have normally. Size, shape, proportion and how parts fit together are really studied. Visual learning is taking place.

Creating a model with their own hands allows for tactile learning. Students who are tactile (kinesthetic) learners can really benefit from model building. Images or words on a page might not mean much to them, but hands-on activities make the subject come alive. It is my belief that all kids are tactile learners in some sense.

Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet, licensed clinical social worker and coordinator of Parents Place Express, says that all kids start out as tactile learners, but start to realize their main learning style by 2nd or 3rd grade. However, she also says that half of all kids remain kinesthetic learners on some level.

In our house, after the model is created, the kids have to tell me all about it. They have to tell me about the parts and how they work. This act allows for testing of what they already know, and by hearing what they are saying, auditory learning is taking place.

We usually make our models with oven bake clay that allows us to preserve them for further study and review. but you could use play dough and just take the model apart when you are finished to reuse the dough later.

Have you ever made your own science models? What did you make?

More Homeschool Science from Marci

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